South Florida State College holds its 50th anniversary Commencement ceremony Thursday, May 7, 6:45 p.m., at the SFSC Theatre for the Performing Arts, Highlands Campus, Avon Park. 

The Commencement speaker is dual enrollment student, Juliana Jackson, who earns her Associate in Arts degree with honors; she also graduates from Avon Park High School in May 2015. After graduation, she plans to attend Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., to double major in mathematics and secondary education. She aspires to work toward a master’s degree in education so she can return to Highlands County to teach mathematics in high school. Jackson is a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society that recognizes and encourages academic achievement for two-year college students. 

South Florida State College was established by the Florida Legislature as South Florida Junior College (SFJC) in 1965 and began offering classes in August 1966. The following spring, SFJC graduated its first class: The two recipients of an Associate in Arts degree were Ann Kahn and Robert Terrell. 

Forty-eight years later, Terrell joins the new SFSC graduates during the May 2015 Commencement ceremony. Some 441 students will have met the SFSC graduation requirements. Of these, 283 receive their associate degrees, 132 receive vocational certificates or college credit certificates, four will be graduates of the Adult Education program, and 22 will receive a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree from SFSC. Participating in the Commencement ceremony will be 198 students. 

Live online streaming, will be available by clicking a banner on the SFSC website home page on May 7 at 6:30 p.m. EDT.  Friends and relatives will be able to see everything from the processional to the last graduate crossing the stage.

Mace bearer and chief marshal for this year’s ceremony is Steven Ashworth, and marshals are Davida Austin, Thomas Bush, Kathleen Cappo, Dr. Ellen Cover, Robert Hampton, Dr. Theresa James, Melanie Jackson, Claire Miller, and Lena Phelps. 

The Commencement rehearsal takes place Thursday, May 7, at 10 a.m., in the SFSC Theatre for the Performing Arts. The 2015 Commencement reception will be held in the Catherine P. Cornelius Student Services and Classroom Complex (Building B) immediately following the Commencement exercises.